Monday, August 13, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/When The Flood Gates Break!

Some of you may remember from earlier this summer that I put myself on a very restrictive fabric buying diet...no new fabric until after August 1st. Well, I did okay. But, I did buy the tea towels that I designed from my painting, and I also purchased the mirrored yardage. I am also cleaning up my studio. Those posts will resume soon. The doctor had asked that with this second eye surgery that I be particularly careful about not picking things up, and bending over. Tomorrow is freedom day, no more drops, and back to life as usual :)

Over the weekend, with my no fabric moratorium being over, I took a trip up to Gayfeather Fabrics in Madison, WI along with 5 other friends. We had a blast!!! 

I actually showed some restraint and picked out pieces that I knew I would make up quickly. I'll share more later, but this piece was especially fun...

Virginia had these wool panels that I thought were especially interesting. I decided to purchase 2. At just $5.00 per panel, a steal!

I wanted something fun to go with the panels. Found the piece above, went back and forth about it.

Then I flipped the fabric over to the so called "wrong side," and I loved it! I will be making the jacket below. The panels will be a skirt, just not exactly sure of how it will be executed.

If by chance you noticed the top I am wearing in the first picture, it was a gift, and what an amazing gift!!! Totally unexpected. I came home last Thursday and found a box waiting for me. Becky of Trial Balloons had sent an amazing treasure chest of fabrics. Included in the box was the top.

I had sent her the small piece that you see, on the bottom left of the top in the top left picture. It was a piece that a friend of mine had given me. It came from an antique kimono. Becky had the Kung Fu Bunny. What a hoot! Take note of the hand stitching she did around the edges. 

Love how the back was pieced, and if you look closely, on the back of the top, there are 3 small red stitches. Such a sweet touch.

Just a few of the other special pieces that were in the box...

The piece below did not photograph all that well, so much prettier in person. It's double sided. The pieces aren't large, but what a special accent they will be!

This piece is about 12" wide, but rather long, so another beautiful accent piece.

Her son had brought this back to her from China. She said that the colors were just not quite her, but thought I would enjoy it. I do! What I think I am going to do with the piece is actually use the back side for an unlined jacket. That way, when I take the jacket off, you'll see the amazing inside! 

I also want to share this sweet gift that my friend Sue gave me,

She didn't make the bag, but did the embroidery. It was the perfect accessory for our Gayfeather shopping trip. What I especially like about the bag is that it has snaps so the top can be closed up a bit. 

So yes, the flood gates broke ;) I can now buy fabric once again. But, my break gave me some space, a chance to really look at what I have, cherish what I have, and think first before I buy.  

Before I go, I want to share my shawl. This is the Honeycomb  Wrap from Purl Soho. I was seeing honeycombs in my sleep before it was over :/ But, it's done, I'm happy, and I can't wait to wear it! Now all I need is some cold weather ;) 

Just had to make a note about this picture...

Conehead Berkley is in the chair ;) He has been with us now for 3 weeks. As we were getting ready to go to bed last night, my husband said, "I can't believe it, you've created yet another monster." He was referring to the fact that Berkley is already so very attached to me, and wants to be with me all-the-time. Oh well :) 

Have a fabulous week!

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Supper/Zucchini Pie

I just love when all the fresh vegetables begin to make their way into the market. When I was growing up, we ate squash, but it was always yellow squash. I had never heard of zucchini squash until we moved to Chicago. But, it was love at first bite. There are so many dishes that can be made, everything from zucchini bread, to pasta dishes. 

I especially love Zucchini Pie, or some would say quiche. My recipe is super simple, and minus the crust!   

I begin by cutting up 3 medium size zucchini.

A little spice is always a good thing in my book, and I especially like this cheese from Boar's Head. It is a bit spicy, so if you would prefer, a colby/jack blend without the peppers will work just fine. 

The zucchini is sauteed in a little olive oil with garlic until tender. Salt, black pepper, oregano, along with the cubed cheese is added to the sauteed zucchini, and placed in a greased pie dish.

Three beaten eggs are then poured over the zucchini cheese mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes, or until eggs are set.

Allow the pie to cool slightly, about 10 minutes before cutting. Slice, serve, and devour!

This pie is great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If serving for breakfast, add a fruit salad on the side. For lunch or dinner, a nice green salad, or a cup of soup will be perfect. 

Here's the recipe...

Zucchini Pie

3 medium zucchini sliced into small pieces. 
2 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1 cup colby/jack 
3 eggs beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Saute zucchini and garlic in olive oil until tender, about 15 minutes. Combine zucchini with cubed cheese, salt, pepper, dried oregano and pour in greased pie dish. Pour beaten eggs over zucchini mixture. Stir slightly to distribute eggs evening through zucchini.
Place in preheated oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until eggs are set and pie is browned.

Allow pie to cool slightly before slicing, about 10 minutes. 

Hope you enjoy your zucchini pie as much as I enjoyed mine!

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Bragging On You!

Another day at the zoo! ;) Night before last, Mr. Berkley woke me up at 1 in the morning, thrashing around in his crate, the horrible cone scraping against the sides. I listened, thinking he would settle down, he did, so I went back to sleep. When I got up at 5, and opened the crate, I saw that this little bugger had managed to pull out some of his stitches. So, another trip to the vet. Now he is wearing a lampshade sized cone on his head, and has brand new staples in his incision. But, I figured out that I could take the cone off of his head when we go for a walk. He and I are so much happier. And, no crate for sleeping, he has found a place beside me. So, I don't know, maybe I would have been the worst mom in the world, or maybe the best ;)

There is nothing I love more than being able to brag on things that you do, especially if I have given you a bit of inspiration.

A few weeks ago, I received a note from Jelena telling me that she had made the Caught In A Wave dress, but in a woven fabric. I asked that if she had time, to send a picture. I am SO very happy that she did!!! Isn't this a lovely dress?!!!

I love how it drapes. Check out those fabulous shoes! 
The dress was worn to a Tango Festival. She said that it moved beautifully, and that she received tons of compliments, and she should have, it is gorgeous. Jelena was a little concerned about the dress staying in place with it being such a slinky satin, but it did. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely creation! 

You can find the original post and how tos on the Caught In A Wave Dress HERE.

I also received a note from Penny. I did not inspire this make, but since I posted something on working with tea towels, she thought she would share these pics of her daughter. It was actually her daughter's inspiration that brought about these lovely tees. She was shopping at Ikea, found the towels, and thought they would make great summer tops. Had her mom put them together for her. 

I especially like the top below with the embroidery along the hem. Who would ever think that these were initially intended for the kitchen?!!

Thanks so much for sharing your lovely makes. This is where my inspiration originates :)

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Tea and Tea Towels/ A Challenge

Well, I am getting a taste of what it's like to be a mother today. Little Berkley went in to be neutered yesterday, and has had a few issues with the medication. Add to it that he does not want to leave my side. And then I have Gracie, who is terribly afraid of the rain. Between fast trips outside, if you know what I mean :/, and 2 dogs that are wanting lots of attention, I've had a difficult time getting anything accomplished. But the rain will come to an end, and Berkley will heal, in the meantime, I'm just enjoying the fact that they look to me for comfort :)

Today is the first day of woven t-shirt challenge that Becky of Trail Balloons and I are doing as a collaboration. The fun part about it is that we have a specified challenge each week, but we have no idea what the other will be doing.

This week, the challenge was to work with tea towels. Becky picked up a lovely towel while on vacation and used it as the basis of her design. You can see her post HERE. It really turned out to be the perfect 'throw it on and go' top as well as an airy, 'stay cool through the summer' piece. For anyone who loves good tea, she offers a wonderful idea for making your own tea bags. 

I have a box full of vintage linens and tea towels that I have collected over the years. When Becky suggested using tea towels, I thought of a pile that I had found, all new/old stock, so, old but never used. And, all the same. They were especially wide, so maybe not really tea towels, but they would work for this project. 

I decided to use the free raglan tee pattern that I used in THIS post. The pattern plus my pile of towels resulted in this!      

I was able to turn the pattern so that I could use the finished edge of the towel for the hem of the top. There's a faint black accent line woven into the fabric, so I decided to use a piece of vintage black gingham as an accent. One corner was cut, turned on the bias, and then laid on top of the gingham to create the pocket. 

For the back, I used another corner to cover up an issue. While the towels had never been used, there were some age spots that I could not work around. For fun, I added a piece of the gingham to the back and topped it with some embroidered initials from another tea towel.

A lovely time when towels were monogrammed :) 

Below is the age spot that the back overlay covers up. I also used the black gingham to bind the neckline.

I felt that the sleeves needed a little interest, so I added a stripe of the gingham. Just stitched it over 1 of the stripes in the towel.

Not quite sure what I will wear the top with, maybe a pair of linen pants. 

And now for my recipe...

Like Becky, I love tea, and I have quite the collection. During the summer, I especially like a glass of lavender iced tea. While the tea is great to drink, it's also great to cook with! Believe it or not, it's the secret ingredient in my lemon bars. 

I begin with a box of lemon cookie thins that I get from Trader Joe's. If you don't live near a Trader Joe's, I'm sure you can find something comparable in your grocery store.

The cookies are crushed to make a  cookie crust.

Mashed into a foil lined pan and baked until golden brown.

All of the ingredients for the lemon/lavender filling are combined in a blender, and then poured over the baked crust.

The result is a lemon bar that is sinfully good!

Lemon Lavender Bars

Crust Ingredients;
8 oz. butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
2 cups crushed lemon cookie thins

Filling Ingredients;
8 large eggs
1 1/4 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 3/4 cups lavender sugar
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup flour

To Prepare Crust
Crush cookie thins. Add vanilla extract and melted butter. Mix well. Foil line a 9"' x 13" pan. Spray or grease the foil. Pour cookie mixture into pan and press out smoothly. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. 

While the crust is cooking, place eggs in blender and blend until frothy smooth. Add lemon juice, and continue blending. Add lemon sugar and flour and blend until smooth. Finish with the lemon zest. 

Once the crust is golden brown, pour the filling over the crust and place in oven, reducing the heat to 325 degrees. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until filling is set.

Remove from oven and allow the bars to cool. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar. The bars will store well in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Lavender sugar can be purchased, but you can also make your own. I used the lavender tea to make mine. Use 2 tablespoons of crushed lavender to 3 cups of sugar. This is a very nice sugar to keep on hand. Use it in cookie recipes, as well as pancakes.


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Monday, August 6, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/T-Shirts

While scrolling through Instagram this morning, I can across this...

I think we can all relate :)

But, truth be told, we are all so very fortunate. With the internet, we have inspiration at our finger tips at any given moment. When I was in high school, I took French, and loved it. Sadly, I have lost pretty much everything I learned. But at the time, I could read and understand just about anything I picked up, so I splurged and ordered a subscription to the French Elle magazine. What a treat that was! I savored each and every page. That was my entire source of inspiration. Now, like I'm sure all of you, I have files on my computer, files on Pinterest, and hundreds of saved pictures. Rather than feel overwhelmed, I just find the joy in it all. From time to time, I go through the files and delete whatever no longer speaks to me. And, from time to time, I come across some saved piece that is just the inspiration I need at that moment.

With the upcoming posts that Becky from Trail Balloons and I will be doing on t-shirts, I thought I would share just a few ideas that spoke to me :)

I love the idea of taking a basic sleeveless top and adding the flounce to give the illusion of sleeves. 

I really love this!!! A sleeveless top with the raglan sleeve added as accent. And then all the bound seams in black against the white. So striking!

This is a very simple way to add a little something special to a basic top. Slice the pattern open across the chest and then down the sleeves. Add a sheer piece of fabric and it goes from boring to WOW! 

This is really the same take on the idea above.

Alabama Chanin always offers so much inspiration. This piece from Sunni Standing is so lovely. A little stencil work, and then embroidery. Takes simple to outstanding. 

This is a lovely way to use some scraps and decorate the hem of a just about anything. 

We all have tons of buttons that languish in drawers. I rather like the yoke of this top.

Yes, this is a lampshade, but I really like the idea of using old white buttons and turning them into daisies. Just use a little green embroidery floss to create the stems and leaves. Again, a cute idea for the hem of tops and skirts alike. 

I''m really looking forward to the collaboration posts that Becky and I will be doing. Should be fun for us, and I hope you as well.

Have a fabulous week!

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Sunday, August 5, 2018